Renefer and Butler, Two Artists in the Great War

             Renefer and Butler, Two Artists in the Great War

In the context of the centennial of World War I, the Cultural Services at the Consulate General of France in Chicago, with the support of DePaul University, First Division Museum – Cantigny Park, and the Renefer Association, offers to French professors in the Midwest a series of teaching tools. These teaching tools are focused on the works of Renefer and Alban Butler, a French and an American soldier, respectively, who both fought in World War I in France and published illustrated works of their wartime experience in simple yet moving images and words.  Students may compare and contrast the work of both artists as an exercise in language and cross-cultural understanding. 

The teaching tools are put into six themed categories:

-       Daily life of the soldiers

-       Citizens during the war

-       Death and memory

-       Dress

-       Enemy

-       War and technology

Through a variety of educational activities, the teaching tools help students put the works of the two artists into perspective, gain a deeper understanding of the stakes of war, as well as acquire new French language skills. In addition, a general document provides the basic context of the war and the life of the soldiers.

Your class could also participate in the contest “Little artists of memory,” organized by the French Ministry of National Education and the French National Office of War Veterans. For more detailed information please visit:

If you wish to obtain works of Renefer and Butler:

-       Carnet de Poilu, leur vie racontée aux enfants par Renefer – Albin Michel - 14 

-       Happy Days! – Alban B. Butler Jr. – Osprey Publishing – The First Division Museum – $15

The teaching tools above have been made possible by Wendy Rodriguez, student of DePaul University, and Francine Beissel, professor of the French language at Centre de Linguistique Appliquée. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact the Consulate General of France in Chicago: and

Special thanks to Gabrielle Thierry (President of Renefer Association), Paul Herbert (Director of First Division Museum – Cantigny), Professor Pascale-Anne Brault (Director of the French Program at DePaul University), Thomas Vidal, Martin Beale, Danielle Wracker, Gretel Webster, and Samantha Godden-Chmielowicz for their support and contribution to the project.